Great Milanese backgrounds, literate dialogue among characters whose appearances are described to the last jot and tittle,...

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A LONG TIME COMING

The latest stand-alone—or is it a series kickoff?—from the chronicler of forensic archaeologist Gideon Oliver (Switcheroo, 2016, etc.) presents an art curator whose business trip to Milan is complicated by the momentous favor he agrees to do for an old friend.

Newly divorced, kept from his promised promotion from associate curator to curator at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and turning 40 to boot, Valentino Caruso is in no mood to be nice to anyone. But when Esther Lindauer, director of the Institute for the Recovery of Stolen Art, asks him to beg a favor on behalf of concentration camp survivor Solomon Bezzecca, whose legal bid to recover two early Renoir paintings taken from his family during the war has just been rejected, Val finds the old man so genuine that he can’t resist. And even though the court has just ruled in his favor, Val’s old mentor, Ulisse Agnello, the Milanese art supplier who bought the paintings for a pittance at a Hungarian flea market, is perfectly willing to loan the less valuable one to Sol, who’s more attached to that one anyway. Ulisse tells Val, however, that his hands are tied unless Benvenuto Castelnuovo, the wealthy couturier who financed his courtroom proceedings for a hefty share of the proceeds, and Giulietta Barone, Ulisse’s maybe-lover who’s scheduled to put the paintings on the block next month, both agree to the loan. The situation gets even dicier when Val learns that Ulisse has engaged activist restorer Dante Zampa, who has a notorious reputation for improving the canvases he works on, to uncover the Renoirs that X-ray analyses indicate lie hidden beneath the flea-market paintings Ulisse bought just for their frames. What could possibly go wrong—unless one of the principals in the deal gets murdered, and Val is on the scene when the paintings get stolen on two separate occasions?

Great Milanese backgrounds, literate dialogue among characters whose appearances are described to the last jot and tittle, pleasingly shifting alliances, and an epilogue that seems to go on forever.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5039-0238-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.

CROOKED RIVER

FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast finds evil afoot in his latest action-filled adventure (Verses for the Dead, 2018, etc.).

Imagine Florida beachcombers’ shock when they discover a shoe with a severed foot inside. Soon they see dozens more feet, all in identical shoes, bobbing toward the beach. Police and FBI ultimately count more than a hundred of them washing up on Sanibel and Captiva Islands' tranquil shores. Pendergast teams up with the junior Special Agent Armstrong Coldmoon to investigate this strange phenomenon. Oceanographers use a supercomputer to analyze Gulf currents and attempt to determine where the feet entered the ocean. Were they dumped off a ship or an island? Does each one represent a homicide? Analysts examine chemical residues and pollen, even the angle of each foot’s amputation, but the puzzle defies all explanation. Attention focuses on Cuba, where “something terrible was happening” in front of a coastal prison, and on China, the apparent source of the shoes. The clever plot is “a most baffling case indeed” for the brilliant Pendergast, but it’s the type of problem he thrives on. He’s hardly a stereotypical FBI agent, given for example his lemon-colored silk suit, his Panama hat, and his legendary insistence on working alone—until now. Pendergast rarely blinks—perhaps, someone surmises, he’s part reptile. But equally odd is Constance Greene, his “extraordinarily beautiful,” smart, and sarcastic young “ward” who has “eyes that had seen everything and, as a result, were surprised by nothing.” Coldmoon is more down to earth: part Lakota, part Italian, and “every inch a Fed.” Add in murderous drug dealers, an intrepid newspaper reporter, coyotes crossing the U.S.–Mexico border, and a pissed-off wannabe graphic novelist, and you have a thoroughly entertaining cast of characters. There is plenty of suspense, and the action gets bloody.

Great storytelling, a quirky hero, and a quirkier plot make this a winner for adventure fans.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4725-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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